- JEANINE ASKED: My friends market their products over social networking sites such as Facebook all the time. I'm hesitant to do that with my baking business as I don't want my online friends to think I'm hard-selling. Should I get over it?
I admit to being a "cake voyeur" on Facebook.
In fact, I would have missed tucking in to one of the most delicious almond sugee cakes recently had my friend not posted her expertise on my wall.
In short, get over your hang up. You don't need to use your personal account to do this.
The ones who are interested in buying your cakes may not necessarily want to know when your toddler lost his first milk tooth. Set up a separate business account for all things business.
Think of it as a favour to your friends!
"The reality is that lot of people in Singapore lead busy lives and are looking for convenient sources of quality products and services, including baked goodies," says Mr Maneesh Sah, Towers Watson's South-east Asia marketing director.
A Nielsen study, he points out, reveals that Singapore has the highest frequency of Internet access in the region, with 80per cent of Singaporeans accessing the Net daily.
The latest rankings from Alexa show that Facebook is among the top three sites in Singapore in terms of Internet traffic, along with Google.
"By leveraging on Facebook and other social networking sites, Jeanine will be reaching out to a large number of her friends and potentially their friends and contacts as well. Instead of hesitating, she should realise that by marketing her baking services, she is actually helping her friends and making their lives a bit easier," said Mr Maneesh.
There are, of course, ways to do this tastefully - perhaps by posting baking tips or recipes alongside your cake offerings.
The rule of thumb is to engage the target audience with interesting content, says Mr Josh Goh, GMP Group's assistant director of corporate services.
"One should be mindful not to be too aggressive with the sales pitch on social media. When the communication becomes one-way and overly sales oriented, personal contacts might start 'un-friending' you," he said.
I confess, I have done that too. It annoys me when my online space is spammed by wannabe designer goods and myriad offerings in all shapes and sizes.
But when I need them, I will know where to look.
You really have nothing to lose.